Author Interview: Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
Both Kelly and I are pretty adamant dog lovers, which is good because our respective packs are a little on the wild side. So when Heidi Lang, former Bay Area local, middle grade darling, and dog walker extraordinaire, decided to write a book about the joys (?) of being a dog walker, I couldn’t resist setting up an interview between Gomu, the leader of her pack, and the wannabe leader of mine (Tuna!). Check it out below with lots of photos of Gomu and then grab your copy of Rules of the Ruff, out next week!
Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
Category: Middle grade, contemporary
Publication: August 14th, 2018 by Amulet Books
Twelve-year-old Jessie is in for a long summer at her aunt and uncle’s house. Her cousin Ann has a snotty new best friend, which leaves Jessie all alone. But Jessie is industrious, and—not content with being ignored all summer—she convinces Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, to take her on as his apprentice.
Sure, dog walking turns out to be harder than she expected, but she has Wes’s dog-walking code, the Rules of the Ruff, to guide her, and soon she’s wrangling her very own pack. But when a charismatic rival dog walker moves to town, she quickly snatches up most of Wes’s business—and Jessie decides she isn’t going to take this defeat with her tail between her legs.
Author Interview: Gomu Lang, King of Writer Heidi Lang. From Tuna, with Love.
I see your Mom wrote a book about rules. I don’t much like rules. Always, “that table isn’t for standing” and “those are the neighbor’s bushes!” Like anyone owns them! How did she learn these rules and do you have to listen to them?
GOMU: Rules? Please, I’m a corgi. I don’t believe in rules. For instance, my mom swore she was never going to let a dog sleep on her bed. I bet you can guess where I sleep. Sometimes even on her pillow, just to show her. I goes where I wants. My mom was a dog walker for six years, and I guess she did learn a lot about dogs and how to walk them as a pack, but I’ve sure taught her a lot more about how rules are meant to be broken.
Oh, and between you and me, tables are definitely for standing. Of course, that’s one of the rules my mom is a little more strict about, so I have to sneak up when she’s not around. Us short dogs have to survey our domains somehow, right?
I see you go on lots of walks and your mom has walked a lot of dogs. I mostly only like my sister dogs and walks, but not my sister dogs while on walks. I bet it’s the same for a lot of humans. What lessons could dogs teach humans about being better friends?
GOMU: I was basically born into a life of dog walking. When I was too little to hike with everyone, my dad would bring me along in a backpack. I’d show you a picture, but it’s super embarrassing. But the thing I learned to love about hiking with a pack is that all of us have one goal: we are out there, on that trail, to hike to the end. And then hike back and get treats. The treats are important. Especially if they’re turkey flavored. Or peanut butter. Or sweet potato is actually really good, too, and…what was I saying? Oh. Right. Hikes.
We all get along when we’re hiking because we’re all sharing that experience. I think humans could learn from that. They don’t have to love everything about each other all the time, but they can enjoy sharing the experience of being on the trail together. One pack, one goal.
Let’s settle this debate: cats – insufferable or literal demons?
GOMU: Can I tell you a secret? This interview is just between us, right? Because this would be more embarrassing even than that picture of me in a backpack…but I actually have a cat friend, Kuni. I didn’t want to be his friend, but my brother Gordy was making short jokes at me, and Kuni totally put him in his place, and then we sort of, kind of…hung out a little. I know. It’s disgraceful. Please don’t tell anyone.
Gomu has his very own Instagram account, which will make your Monday a better time. You should also add his mama, here!
About the Author
Heidi Lang managed to stumble upon the two best jobs in the world: writing for kids and walking dogs. If she’s not out on the trails surrounded by wagging tails and puppy kisses, she’s probably hunched over her laptop working on her next book. She lives in northern California with her husband and two adventure-loving dogs, and she is the coauthor of A Dash of Dragon and A Hint of Hydra. Find her on Twitter @HidLang, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.